Responsible Travel: How to Choose Ethical Tourism Businesses

By definition, responsible travel is the kind that minimises the negative impacts and maximises the positive impacts for the destination and its people. To make good choices in this regard, prospective travellers need to partner with ethical tourism businesses.

Specifically, this means choosing service providers whose actions and attitudes can be considered professionally, morally and environmentally responsible. To make your search easier, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider, based on our own selection criteria for tourism partners.

Making responsible travel choices
Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Responsible Travel Practices


Ethical tourism providers encourage travellers to be more conscious of their behaviour as consumers. Additionally, they urge them to minimise their carbon footprint in simple ways, for example:

  • Take fewer flights
  • Choose reusable products over disposable ones
  • Find out what the destination community needs and bring some gifts


At minimum, responsible tourism venues must be formally devoted to green and responsible practices, for example:

  • Have a strong environmental and social commitment
  • Put planet before profit – this is more important than ever
  • Strive towards sustainable development
  • Reduce consumption, waste and negative impact
  • Respect and support local culture and tradition
  • Support the local community through awareness, fundraising and empowerment
  • Create jobs and campaigns that are diverse, inclusive and equal

Unethical Travel Practices


  • Embrace buzz words superficially
  • Break sustainability commitments
  • Fail to protect the local environment


  • Rely too heavily on single-use plastics
  • Neglect recycling or waste reduction


  • Fail to support the local community
  • Prioritise tourists and profit
  • Exclude the local community
  • Fabricate volunteer opportunities


Disregard Fairtrade principles for:

  • Employment
  • Trade
  • Supply Chain

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